Creative Art Therapies Week March 17-24,2012

Hello Friends, Fans and Members of VATA!

This week is Creative Art Therapies Week, a time to promote awareness of the various healing arts professions. Our goal this week will be to spend the week highlighting Art, Music, Dance, Drama, and Play Therapies. We will provide information about each specialty and, when possible, share about local professionals, centers, organizations, and practices that utilize Creative Art Therapies. We, of course, are a body of Art Therapists so it feel natural to begin there.

Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.  Research in the field confirms that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to become more physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy and functional, resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, handle life adjustments, and achieve insight.

Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development.  Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.

Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and therapy.  They are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, multicultural and artistic traditions, and the healing potential of art.  They use art in treatment, assessment and research, and provide consultations to allied professionals.  Art therapists work with people of all ages:  individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities.  They provide services, individually and as part of clinical teams, in settings that include mental health, rehabilitation, medical and forensic institutions; community outreach programs; wellness centers; schools; nursing homes; corporate structures; open studios and independent practices.

The American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (AATA) sets educational, professional, and ethical standards for its members.  The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), an independent organization, grants credentials.  Registration (ATR) is granted upon completion of graduate education and post-graduate supervised experience.  Board Certification (ATR-BC) is granted to Registered Art Therapists who pass a written examination, and is maintained through continuing education.  Some states regulate the practice of art therapy and in many states art therapists can become licensed as counselors or mental health therapists.

Our culture is one of inclusion of people of all backgrounds, open to new concepts and artistic expression that continues to expand the effectiveness of art as a healing therapy. We are rooted in the experience of those who began this field 40 years ago and honor their legacy by our commitment to the future of the art therapy profession.    

The above information was provided by the American Art Therapy Association. For more information about Art Therapy, and The American Art Therapy Association visit their website.

For more information about the Virginia Art Therapy Association and events around the state visit You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.


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